Another Desperate Letter from Guantánamo by Adnan Latif: “With All My Pains, I Say Goodbye to You”


Regular readers will know that the ongoing injustice at Guantánamo, where 172 men remain, is so severe that President Obama’s promise to close the prison has, instead, turned into a concession by defense secretary Robert Gates, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, that “the prospects for closing Guantánamo, as best I can tell, are very, very low given broad opposition to doing that here in the Congress.” In fact, the options for any of these men leaving anytime soon have been so severely diminished not only through the actions of Congress, but also through the actions of the judiciary (specifically, the D.C. Circuit Court) and through policy decisions taken by the administration itself that it is now, sadly, appropriate to consider that the majority of those held should be regarded as political prisoners.

Those who fit this category in particular are the 89 prisoners cleared for release by President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, a sober collection of career officials and lawyers from government departments and the intelligence services, who reviewed all the Guantánamo cases throughout 2009, and concluded that 28 Yemenis should be released — and that another 30 should be released when the security situation in Yemen improves. This latter category of prisoner — held in what the Task Force described as “conditional detention” — were particularly unfortunate, as “conditional detention” is clearly one of those disturbing novelities invented in post-9/11 America, which, to all intents and purposes, may well mean, in reality, that they will be held indefinitely.

However, for the other 28 Yemenis, there appeared to be no obstacle to their release until, on Christmas Day 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, tried to blow up a plane bound for Detroit. When it emerged that Abdulmutallab had apparently been recruited in Yemen, the backlash in the US against releasing any Yemenis was so ferocious that President Obama immediately caved in to the criticism, announcing an open-ended moratorium on releasing any Yemenis, even though, by doing so, he was consigning them to “guilt by nationality,” and was sending a message to the Yemeni people that they were all regarded as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.

With one exception — Mohammed Hassan Odaini, a patently innocent man who won his habeas corpus petition last May, and was released in July — the administration has refused to break its moratorium, providing additional safeguards to ensure that no Yemenis are released by appealing every successful habeas corpus petition (except that of Mohammed Hassan Odaini), including that of one particularly unfortunate individual, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif.

Latif, who was cleared for release from Guantánamo by a military review board in 2007, under the Bush administration, and has verifiable mental health problems, possibly including schizoprehia, which have led to him attempting suicide on several occasions, was nevertheless required to wait another three years in the prison until, on July 21 last year, Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. granted his habeas petition, evidently believing his story that he had traveled to Pakistan, and then Afghanistan in search of cheap medical treatment for the injuries he suffered in a car crash — the pre-existing condition that has been so ruinously exacerbated after nine years of abuse in Guantánamo. Even then, however, his suffering did not come to an end, as the Obama administration refused to release him, and, instead, appealed his successful petition.

His lawyers’ submission on his behalf can be found here (PDF), and it is, I believe, a savage indictment of the administration’s politically motivated cowardice — and of the indifference of the US media and the American public — that no pressure has been exerted to secure his release, as his case presents the most obvious example of the Yemenis cleared for release whose continued presence at Guantánamo is dictated solely by politics of the most cynical kind.

I have previously published two letters sent by Latif from Guantánamo to one of his lawyers, David Remes, in my articles, Guantánamo Is “A Piece of Hell That Kills Everything”: A Bleak New Year Message from Yemeni Prisoner Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif and A Cry for Help from Guantánamo: Adnan Latif Asks, “Who Is Going to Rescue Me From the Injustice and the Torture I Am Enduring?” and David recently sent me a third letter, written on December 26, 2010, which I am reproducing below in the hope that it will keep Adnan’s plight in people’s minds, and will encourage readers to consider that a campaign to put pressure on the United States to honour its commitments to free prisoners cleared for release is necessary if the Obama administration is to avoid complaints that it is engaged in arbitrary detention, mocking its own procedures by holding men cleared for release, insulting the people of Yemen, and presiding over a system that is no longer holding men based on any spurious notion of justice, but is, instead, holding them as political prisoners.

A letter from Guantánamo by Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, December 26, 2010

David Remes,

Do whatever you wish to do, the issue is over.

I am happy to express from this darkness and draw a true picture of the condition in which I exist. I am moving towards a dark cave and a dark life in the shadow of a dark prison. This is a prison that does not know humanity, and does not know [anything] except the language of power, oppression and humiliation for whoever enters it. It does not differentiate between a criminal and the innocent, and between the right of the sick or the elderly who is weak and is unable to bear and a man who is still bearing all this from the prison administration that is evil in mercy.

Hardship is the only language that is used here. Anybody who is able to die will be able to achieve happiness for himself, he has no other hope except that. The requirement is to announce the end, and challenge the self love for life and the soul that insists to end it all and leave this life which is no longer anymore called a life, instead it itself has become death and renewable torture. Ending it is a mercy and happiness for this soul.

I will not allow any more of this and I will end it. I will send [move] it to a world that is much better than this world. There, the real life will live again that will be filled with complete happiness and be rid of all harassments. There, the environment will clear up, things will calm down and you will be able to relax and you will not see the world of evil people.

I am in need of a person who blindfolds his eyes from me [looks the other way] and leaves me in my freedom so that I can choose my end. With all my pains, I say goodbye to you and the cry of death should be enough for you.

A world power failed to safeguard peace and human rights and from saving me. I will do whatever I am able to do to rid myself of the imposed death on me at any moment of this prison.



Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published exclusively on Cageprisoners.

42 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, George Kenneth Berger wrote:


  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Imran Chaudhry wrote:

    ‎”The prospects for closing Guantanamo, as best I can tell, are very, very low, given very broad opposition to doing that here in the Congress,” Gates told a Congressional hearing, Feb 17, 2011.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    AniTa Hernan wrote:

    How can we write him Andy?

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Imran Chaudhry wrote:

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    AniTa Hernan wrote:

    Thanks Imran,…and his prisoner # is 156 for anyone who might want to write him.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    AniTa Hernan wrote:


  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Anne Elliott wrote:


  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Imran Chaudhry wrote:

    welcome, we need to keep writing to all of them i pray they get justice

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Heike Winnig Boulet wrote:

    Heartbreaking! Unspeakable epitome of tyranny and injustice. Thank you for never giving up the battle and your fight for justice, Andy!!!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for that link about how to write to the prisoners, Imran. I posted that list here:
    And here’s a recent campaign by Reprieve:
    And an update of the original list by Shahrina and friends that was mentioned in the original link:

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Imran Chaudhry wrote:

    Pleasure Andy,

    Just a suggestion i feel the list of detainees need images of them beside there names and perhaps a bit of info on them each to create more impact for the viewer, though i know some of them do not have images. I guess the intention is to make the detainee seem more real than just text on a screen.

  12. Tweets that mention Another Desperate Letter from Guantánamo by Adnan Latif: “With All My Pains, I Say Goodbye to You” | Andy Worthington -- says...

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michelle Matthews, Andy Worthington, auerfeld, CapitaSim, Bradley Manning UK and others. Bradley Manning UK said: RT @Tymlee: "A world power failed to safeguard peace and human rights" ~ Adnan Latif #Guantanamo detainee […]

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    This is so depressing. My heart is aching just reading that.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Parvati Roma wrote:

    ‎:'( hey amerikkka – why must an innocent man suffer like this, why can’t he be set free, returned to his family??? HEY ARE YOU LISTENING AMERIKKA ??? THE WORLD WANTS TO KNOW!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    For further information on the men still held, Imran, please see my nine-part series profiling all the remaining prisoners (ninth part still pending), which also includes photos where available:

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Imran Chaudhry wrote:

    Thanks Andy brilliant

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Rebecca Ramshaw wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! I am taking a class on GTMO & we have to choose any one of the prisoners who have been, or currently are, detained and report on them. I chose Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif & his story has broken my heart, but also strengthened my resolve to share his story & the other injustices that I’ve learned about since beginning this class. However, Latif’s case is especially horrendous.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s great news, Rebecca. Thanks for letting me know.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Амел Кашников wrote:

    gitmo wil never b closed

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Meenakshi Sharma wrote:

    Thanks Andy for the post and Imran/Anita for the info..shared.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Jessie Cross wrote:

    Thanks Andy – have shared, retweeted and posted everywhere. I still hope they will close that hell-hole …

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghaliyaa Haq wrote:

    They still have to close the hell-hole in Bagram etc, too – then the ones here in the US…. but they keep arresting more Muslims! ;-( Entrapment always – entrapment.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Leonardo L Larl ‎wrote:

    ….., “guilt by nationality”, “guilt by race”, “guilt by class”,……US Govt. and co. has been giving “master class of democracy” on these subject domestically and internationally for the last one hundred years and more.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Амел Кашников wrote:

    ‎”shut the fuck up or we will bring democracy into ur home” says america

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Kamel Mukharesh wrote:


  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Jennie Berkman-Boatman wrote:

    I’m not sure why Obama isn’t closing this hell hole as he promised during the campaign. Unfortunately, he has all the military and the right against him. He can only do so much. I’d like to see him get a serious backbone and take actiion, but he can only accomplish so much with the far right controlling opinion and part of Congress.

  27. Andy Worthington « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette says...

    […] Files, discusses the end of whatever small chance there was of closing Guantanamo, though half the prisoners are cleared for release; the Obama administration’s continued moratorium on releasing Yemeni prisoners, based on […]

  28. Dead Gitmo Prisoner’s Tragic Letter About Why He Gave Up on Life « Actualités Alternatives « Je veux de l'info says...

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  29. Dead Gitmo Prisoner’s Tragic Letter About Why He Gave Up on Life « Internationalist Prison Books Collective says...

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  31. Do whatever you wish to do , the issue is over | SERBian FBReporter In Foreign Languages says...

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  32. Dead Gitmo Prisoner’s Tragic Letter About Why He Gave Up on Life | Seattle Free Press says...

    […] a letter   he wrote to his lawyer David Remes in December of 2010 shows the depths of his despair near the end […]

  33. The Election Review « Dead Guantanamo prisoner on why he gave up on life says...

    […] a letter he wrote to his lawyer David Remes in December of 2010 shows the depths of his despair near the end […]

  34. arcticredriver says...

    Thanks Andy.

    I hope there is a reliable inquiry.

    Although Adnan Latif was clearly suicidal, we also know his reasonable and modest request for an additional blanket, to help prevent the cold from triggering his brain seizures, were denied.

    I think it is worth remembering he may have had a fatal seizure, one that may have been prevented if he had been given even slightly better medical care.

    Officially, medical treatment is not supposed to be withheld, to punish captives. But that seems to have been a common practice, and seems to have been the case with Adnan Latif.

  35. arcticredriver says...

    So, if the meme that the USA provided Guantanamo captives with excellent medical care were true, what would his medical Adnan Latif’s Guantanamo medical records say about the after-effects of his 1994 head injury?

    Today a CNN article said:

    [review] board rejected his plea to search for medical records that would support his story [of a head injury with serious lingering symptoms]. The medical records, later obtained by Latif’s lawyers and sent to Human Rights Watch, described acute head injuries and recommended that he seek an additional operation.

    I’d like to know whether the records of his Guantanamo medical care confirmed these lingering symptoms, and, if so, why he wasn’t offered the operation he needed while he was in US custody.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I agree, arcticredriver, that it was routine to withhold medical treatment as punishment for prisoners not cooperating, even though that is criminal behavior. I also think it’s reasonable to assume that conditions have generally improved for most of the remaining prisoners, but not for everyone – particularly those in Camp 5, who have always been those regarded as being influential amongst the prisoners, and, I believe, hunger strikers regarded as troublesome. Poor Adnan was in Camp 5, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that he was not a recipient of any of the better living conditions – and opportunities to socialize – that have been granted to compliant prisoners in Camp 6. He died, it seems to me, very much alone, which is very sad indeed.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s a very good point, arcticredriver, although I can’t imagine we’ll ever see those records, as they will confirm that medical care was dependent on the dictates of the interrogators.

  38. How radical and warped - Blues for Levantium Lost says...

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  39. Guantanamo prisoner’s tragic letter « Actualités Alternatives « Je veux de l'info says...

    […] a letter he wrote to his lawyer David Remes in December of 2010 shows the depths of his despair near the end […]

  40. Dead Gitmo Prisoner’s Tragic Letter About Why He Gave Up on Life | Alternet | Faktensucher says...

    […] a letter   [4]he wrote to his lawyer David Remes in December of 2010 shows the depths of his despair near the […]

  41. Timeline: A Guantanamo Death Foretold | Elm River Free Press says...

    […] a letter to his lawyer, Latif writes “With all my pains, I say goodbye to you and the cry of death should be enough for […]

  42. A dark cave and a dark life in the shadow of a dark prison « HICHAM HAMZA says...

    […] Adnan Latif aka“156″ (1980-2012)   […]

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Andy Worthington

Writer, campaigner, investigative journalist and commentator. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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